Legacy Award

From the very first frames of film that ran through the very first cameras, filmmakers have been documenting the real world around them. And over the next century, nonfiction film artists would experiment with tools and aesthetics and find subjects that filled their frame in a way that was immediate and timeless. Sometimes, magic would happen, and the resulting film would go on to influence other filmmakers for years or decades. For these most memorable and influential films, we created our Legacy Award, our opportunity to jump to our feet, tip our cap and salute those films that define documentary for all of us. Previous Legacy Award honorees have been Sherman's March (2010), Grey Gardens (2011), Titicut Follies (2012) and The War Room (2013).

  • Legacy Award Winner  Harlan County, USA (Directed and Produced by Barbara Kopple)

Legacy Award

Harlan County, USA credits:
Directed by Barbara Kopple
Produced by Barbara Kopple
Edited by Nancy Baker and Mary Lampson
Principal Cinematographer Hart Perry
Sound Recordist Barbara Kopple
Associate Director Anne Lewis

From Roger Ebert’s 1977 review of Harlan County, USA:

“The movie is a great American document, but it’s also entertaining. Kopple structures her material to provide tension, brief but vivid characterizations and dramatic confrontations (including one incredibly charged moment when the sheriff attempts to lead a caravan of scabs past the picket line). There are many gunshots in the film, and a death, and also many moments of simple warmth and laughter. The many union songs on the sound track provide a historical context, and also help Kopple achieve a fluid editing rhythm. And most of all there are the people in the film, those amazing people, so proud and self-reliant and brave.”

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